13 Typical Questions Asked by Beginner Guitarists (Part 1)

13 Typical Questions Asked by Beginner Guitarists (Part 1)

1. Is learning Music Theory Essential?

A: Learning music theory to learning a musical instrument is something like learning about the traffic regulations to driving. You can still drive without observing those rules, but one day you will come up with accidents for sure. Learning music theory is, therefore, a must to play the guitar well because it helps to understand the musical works and hence to deal with the musical elements. No worry at all because it’s actually not that difficult to learn music theory. Anyway, you will get to know it as you go on with learning to play the guitar.

2. How should I begin with learning how to play the guitar?

A: There are 8 steps accordingly:

  1. Before actually playing the guitar, look at (online) learning resources so that you have a basic idea on what knowledge and skills you are going to acquire.
  2. Get to know music theory in order to read pieces of music.
  3. Learn to play single notes and then various chords.
  4. Find out what are the frequently asked questions raised up by beginner guitarists and the corresponding solutions to those problems.
  5. Practice with the easiest songs to play on guitar, i.e. those include only single notes e.g. Mary Had a Little Lamb, Ode to Joy etc.
  6. After getting familiar with the single notes, there are probably patches on your fingertips. So, it is now easier for playing chords.
  7. Pay attention to the rhythm of a song. Begin with counting the beats for musical score with time signature 2/4 and 4/4, and then move on to one with 3/4.
  8. Master scale of C major first and G major afterwards, which involve only the first three frets and relatively easier chords. Later you should be able to play more chords with the help of a capo.

3. How should I deal with the finger pain?

A: Finger pain is a must to encounter during the process of learning to play the guitar. Generally speaking, to practice for ten-something days is good enough for your skin to get thickened and hardened or even for calluses or patches to develop. Then, you won’t feel the pain caused by pressing the strings anymore. Just one thing to note is that after a long time without workouts, the skin will be renewed and the pain will be back once again.

4. How’s the finger placement for the left hand and right respectively?

A: Most likely, beginners should be familiar with playing on the first three frets.

Left hand placement: index finger pressing the first fret, the middle finger for the second while the ring finger for the third;

Right hand placement: with thumb pressing the fourth, fifth and sixth strings, index finger the third, middle finger the second, last but not least, the little finger the first.

Again, this is for most of the cases. Still, the instructions given by a musical score always come first.

5. What if a clean sound can’t be made when I pluck the string?

A: When you pluck the string, make sure your left hand presses the string hard enough. The left wrist should relax and bend slightly, to the extent that the thumb is positioned towards the center of the neck and between the index and middle finger. The thumb should never be positioned parallel to the fingerboard. However, the neck of a folk guitar is narrower, which allows the left thumb to finger chords. There are many different ways to position the fingers other than thumb. Still, the following golden rules must be kept. First, use your fingertips to press string. Second, when pressing the strings, the fingers are kept almost vertical above the fingerboard. Third, the ideal location of pressing a string would be between 1/3 and 1/4 of the lower part of a fret. Fourth, play with bent knuckles.

6. How can I eliminate the scraping sound while playing the guitar?

A: Soften your finger movement in order to lower the unwanted sound.

7. Do I unintentionally touch neighboring strings out of my fat and stubby fingers?

A: Most of the time, fat fingers do not cause troubles to press the strings properly. Here are some tips for not touching other strings. First, clip totally your left-hand nails. Second, press strings with straight knuckles as much as you can. Third, do not fully bend your knuckles.

We will contunue with questions 8 to 13 in the next entry:

13 Typical Questions Asked by Beginner Guitarists (Part 2)

See you!